Half Marathon Training: 5 Key Workouts!

Coach Casey · June 22, 2020

The half marathon is quickly becoming one of the most popular road race distances in the world! In 2018 the half marathon was the second most popular race distance behind only the 5K. According to a report by the IAAF and RunRepeat.com approximately 2.1 million runners participated in half marathon races in 2018. An ASTOUNDING number considering that in the not too distant past, running was considered a major detriment to human health. With the race’s rise in popularity, and more racers looking to achieve personal bests and see individual improvements, it becomes that much more important to prepare and follow proper half marathon training.

In a continued effort to give every runner the tools necessary to become strong, successful, confident racers, we at Charge Running have put together a comprehensive list of 5 of tried-and-true workouts to help you achieve all of your 13.1 mile race goals!

Proper half marathon training is key to having a great race!

5 Key Workouts for Half Marathon Training!

1) 1/2/4/2 Workout

This is a great and fundamental workout for training different speeds/race efforts in a continuous cycle. This allows you to prepare your speed adjustment skills, learn specific paces without reliance on a watch and by the end makes your Half Marathon Effort (HME) feel easy!

  • Kick it off with a 15-20 minute warm up run. Feel free to incorporate 1-2min of faster, tempo pace to feel some fast leg turnover
  • Continuous: 1min @ 5K pace – 2min @ 8K/10K pace – 4min @ HME – 2min @ 8K/10K pace
  • Repeat that structure continuously anywhere from just 1 to 4 times 
  • Finish things off with 15-20 minutes of easy, controlled cool down running

2) Long Run HME Workout

Why not take two of the running community’s favorite things, the long run and a half marathon, and blend them together?!?! This is a great dual-purpose workout. You complete your weekly long run while also training your body at your Half Marathon Effort while experiencing a bit of accumulated fatigue. This accurately represents how your body will react during an actual race.

  • Start with 25% of your total long run distance at a smooth, controlled pace, NOT overworking
  • 1-2 Miles at HME (paying close attention to splits, trying to be even throughout)
  • Another 25%-50% of your total long run distance at an easy, controlled pace for a long recovery
  • Back to it! 1-2 Miles at HME (paying close attention to splits, trying to be slightly faster in second half than first half)
  • Finish off your total long run mileage

3) Tempo – Speed – Tempo Workout

Those who say distance runners don’t have any speed have never done this workout! Longer segments of Tempo running combined with faster, shorter intervals allows you to have a trial run of that much-needed half marathon finishing speed after your body has already started to accumulate the oft-feared lactic acid and is depleted of energy.

  • Begin with 15-20 minutes of easy warm-up running followed by 4x 100m strides to practice your speed mechanics
  • 2 miles at Tempo effort (stay smooth and in control but set a goal to be close to your Half Marathon Pace per mile) 
  • 3 to 5 minutes of easy jogging to a track or flat, safe area for speed repeats
  • 4-8x [800 meters @ 5K pace, 2min easy walk/jog recovery]
  • 3 to 5 minutes of easy running after final 800m rep back to your running route
  • 1-2 miles at Tempo (once again, stay smooth but push to hit your goal HMP)
Follow these workouts for half marathon training for ultimate success!

4) Distance Ladder Workout

A distance runner’s take on what has become a foundation of sprint and mid-distance track workouts. This is more for fun and confidence than anything else! After weeks of training at longer distances you’ll feel like a superhero rocking and rolling through progressively shorter reps. Plus this is all based on feel so you can really let you speed flag fly here!

  • Get started with a shorter warm up run, only 10-15 minutes
  • Spend some extra time doing dynamic warm-up drills and a minimum of 4 100m strides. It’s very important to be loose and have strong leg turnover before getting started.
  • 2K [@ Marathon pace or about 1min faster per mile than Base Run pace, 2:00 walk]
  • 2 x [1M @ 1 gear faster, 2:00 walk]
  • 2 x [800m @ 1 gear faster, 2:00 walk 
  • 2 x [400m @ 1 gear faster, 1:30 walk] 
  • 2 x [200m @ 1 gear faster, 1:00 walk] 
  • Wrap it all up with a slightly longer cool down run, up to 30 minutes if you’re feeling it

5) Repeat 2 Miles

Classic, straightforward, and oh-so effective! 2 mile repeats adds that true distance runner twist to a traditional mile repeat workout. The goal here is to come through faster than you intend to for your Half Marathon so that an adjustment to a slower pace (back to your HMP) feels natural and comfortable.

  • As always, begin with a slow steady 15-20 minute warm up run plus some stretches and 2-4 strides to loosen up your legs
  • 2-4x [2 Miles @ 20-30sec faster per mile than HMP, 4min walk/jog rest]
  • Finish things off with another 15-20 minutes of cool down running and LOTS of stretching

Any questions about Half Marathon Training? Looking to take your race preparation to the next level? Sign up for Charge Running and get all the personalized coaching and advice you need!

Comments 1

Anonymous · June 22, 2020
Such great tips !! Thank you

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